If you’ve experienced a drug or alcohol addiction, the road to recovery can be tough. Once you get sober, you’ll want to do everything you can to prevent yourself from relapsing. If you’re wondering how to stay sober, these five tips will point you in the right direction.

1 . Establish Your Triggers

To avoid a relapse it’s important to establish your triggers. Triggers include the places and people that provoke your cravings for alcohol or drugs. Your triggers may also be certain emotions or thoughts. When you establish what your triggers are, it’s far easier to manage them. A few common triggers are relationship issues, financial problems or stress, and anxiety. Being around people who use alcohol and drugs can also be triggering. While you can’t avoid every difficult emotion, you can put coping mechanisms in place, to deal with stress.

2. Reflect On Your Relationships

When you get sober it’s a good idea to reflect on your relationships. When you have a drinking problem it’s common to have romantic relationships with people who also have these issues. You may also have close friends who have enabled your drinking or drugs habit. To stop yourself from relapsing you’ll need to avoid toxic relationships, and seek healthier relationships in your life. Unhealthy relationships will only increase your chances of relapsing. The road to sobriety can be tough as you may find yourself having to let go of past relationships. Remember, in the long term it’s best to remove yourself from the relationships that do not serve you.

3. Create A Structured Life

When you’re in recovery, you must create structure to your life. Failing to organize yourself may prevent you from achieving your goals, and potentially trigger a relapse. Create a structured and healthy routine where you stick to a schedule. Your schedule should consist of work commitments, healthy hobbies, and supportive friends and family. You’ll need to develop a consistent routine, avoiding a lifestyle that’s chaotic. It can be helpful to set positive goals whether these are career goals or exercise goals.

4. Stress Coping Tactics

Relapse often happens due to stress, so it’s important to adopt tactics to cope with stress. Practicing yoga is a way to ease stress and improve your sleep. There are also plenty of physical health benefits from improved flexibility to better posture. Meditation is another excellent stress coping tactic. You may want to try meditation apps such as Headspace or Buddhify. Writing in a journal is also a useful stress coping tactic. You might try writing down your difficult emotions, or focusing on positive affirmations.

5. Face Your Mistakes 

If you’re in recovery you may find yourself reflecting on past mistakes you’ve made. You may have accidentally hurt the people close to you, due to your addiction. Holding onto guilt is not helpful, and may provoke a relapse. The best thing to do is to face your mistakes. Apologize to those you’ve hurt, and work on forgiving yourself. Sobriety is about letting go of the past, and establishing a positive mindset.

To stay sober it can be helpful to establish a support network. You might find support in an alcohol recovery group, or in new friendship groups.

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